Arteta finding it tough to be proud as Arsenal title hopes crumble; wary of Champions League challenge

Mikel Arteta, Arsenal, May 2023

Mikel Arteta admitted he was finding it tough to be proud of the season at Arsenal as their title hopes crumbled, admitting his side could get punished in the Champions League.

It’ll take a miracle for Arsenal to win the Premier League now. They’ve been the team to beat for much of the season, but when it came to the most crucial part of the season, they crumbled.

Three draws on the bounce – including one to now relegated Southampton – in April allowed Manchester City back in. The Citizens have not looked back, and have now won 11 games on the spin and are four points clear at the top of the table.

Arsenal lost to City the game that followed their draw with Southampton. While the two wins in between then and now looked promising – against Chelsea and then Newcastle United – they’ve faltered yet again.

Indeed, the Gunners suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Brighton, meaning a win in City’s next game wraps up the title.

After a cagey first half of the game, Brighton took the lead early on in the second half, through Julio Enciso. A sign of a great side is the ability to hit back after falling behind.

Unfortunately, Arsenal weren’t able to do so, and some sloppy distribution from the back allowed Denis Undav the opportunity to chip over Aaron Ramsdale to make it 2-0.

The 3-0 scoreline was wrapped up when Pervis Estupinan followed in on a save by Arsenal’s goalkeeper in the 96th minute and lifted his shot over him and into the net.

Arteta finding it hard to be proud

Speaking to BBC after the game, Arsenal boss Arteta admitted he was finding it tough to be proud of his side, with the title all but gone, while he was also wary performances like today’s will see them punished in the Champions League.

“It is difficult to see that picture [season to be proud of] today,” he said.

“When the team shows the face in the second half it shows we have things to adjust. Any team in this league can punish you and that would happen in the Champions League too.”

While the title race will continue if Man City are to lose to Chelsea, Arteta is focussed on his own side’s next game and making sure they perform how they should.

“I have no idea [if Man City will lose it] but I have to think about what we can do better and what we can do to beat Nottingham Forest,” he added.

Arteta feels Brighton outplayed Arsenal

The Arsenal boss clearly felt his side were the worst of the two on the field today, though he felt taking chances better would have seen his side in a better position.

“We discussed that Brighton were difficult to chase against. The first half was very competitive. We should have capitalised better than we did,” he said.

“The second half was about keeping doing that and making a couple of adjustments but we conceded very early and after that it was the game they wanted. We tried to react but we gave a silly goal away and the team had no answers from 2-0.

“We knew the challenge we had today. It was very different to the one we had at Newcastle. I was stood here and very proud of what we did last week but today we have to apologise to our people.”

Arteta reiterated that the most important thing now is the next game and not dwelling on this one.

“We have to move on very quickly and not keep that feeling for a long time.”

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